It may be possible to avoid severe penalties for a felony driving charge as part of a plea bargain. As reported by News-Talk 1340 KROC, a serious vehicle accident that left a 68-year-old woman in critical condition resulted in criminal charges levied against a young Rochester woman. A blood test showed marijuana was in her system when the 25-year-old driver allegedly caused the accident. She was, however, able to see her felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor at her sentencing almost one year after the accident.

According to the criminal complaint, and as reported by the Post Bulletin, the Rochester woman allegedly drove through a stop sign on County Road 8 and struck the older woman driving a Chevy Malibu. Both drivers suffered serious injuries. A strong odor of marijuana detected in the Toyota by the state trooper responding to the accident led to the marijuana blood testing roughly two hours later.

Causing an accident resulting in great bodily harm can bring up to five years imprisonment

Based on the provisions of Minnesota’s Statute 609.2113 Criminal Vehicular Operation; Bodily Harm, the Rochester woman was in jeopardy of severe penalties. According to the statute, a driver under the influence of either a controlled substance or alcohol who causes great bodily harm to another individual can face up to five years of jail time and a $10,000 fine.

Woman spared jail time and felony criminal record

By pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of reckless driving, the young Rochester woman was able to have the felony criminal vehicular charges dismissed. This enabled her to avoid a sentence of imprisonment, and it also spared her from a felony criminal record that could place employment and housing opportunities out of her reach. Her punishment for the reckless driving misdemeanor charge was an order to pay slightly under $1,000 in fines and fees and to serve one year of supervised probation.